Saturday, May 5, 2012

Unsubscribe from physical mail

The unsubscribe button on commercial email from ethical marketers is a helpful invention, both for the recipients as well as the sender.

The act of unsubscribing sends the marketer useful information, and saves them a very small amount of money on future email blasts.

We need an unsubscribe button for physical mail.  For recipients, it would be nice to have a less cluttered mailbox. And for direct marketers, it would be a boon to be able to save money by not sending materials to people who definitely aren't interested.

Currently, there is a market failure, though, because there is no easy way for me as a direct mail recipient to inform the sender to stop sending me mail. I suppose I could write them, or try to call them up - but that is more trouble than just throwing the junk mail away. Plus, I have a low level of confidence that even if I DID call them or send them a letter, that they would get the message through the organization to the right person and actually remove my address from their mailing lists.

Seems to me this is a business opportunity.

What I'd like to be able to do is use an app on my phone to snap a photo of any direct mail from an organization that I don't want to mail me in the future. I upload it to the site, and the site takes care of identifying the marketer and getting me off their list.

The service would be free to recipients, and paid for by marketers. It costs the marketer at least 50 cents each time they mail me, I would guess, so they ought to be willing to pay $1-2 to the intermediary.

I know that we already do have the National Do Not Mail list, but this seems to be to be a blunt instrument. There are in fact some special offers that I want to receive, so I don't want to get my name off of every mailing list.

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